Group Gordon’s Elana Rueven blogs about the questions you should ask to make sure your social media presence is strategic. 2.19.2015
Social media is a newer, shinier tool in the communications toolbox. Allowing for direct customer interaction, instantaneous communication, and increased SEO value, social media provides companies with a new way to engage their customers, clients, and other stakeholders. Moreover, it is an increasingly hard-to-ignore platform – how many companies or brands can you think of without a single social media account?
For those that haven’t yet jumped aboard the social media train, where does one begin? Here are five important questions to consider to build a social media presence that’s thoughtful, strategic, and impactful.
1. What’s the right tone?
Tone is one of the most important differentiators between your social media account and your competitors’. First, identify your company’s tone in any existing marketing materials. Whether it’s playful, serious, political, or informative, the tone should be consistent.
Take Oreo, for example. The cookie brand’s target audience is children and more playful adults and its Twitter and Facebook pages embody the energy and playfulness of that demographic.
In contrast, a company like New York City 311, a local source of non-emergency government services, uses a drier, more serious tone on Twitter.
2. What audiences are you trying to engage?
The main purpose of social media is to engage with individuals. Creating an account without a clear understanding of your target audience leads to a muddled presence. Whether you are trying to engage with customers, other businesses, policymakers, or other influencers, create content that your audience would find interesting.
With a target audience of luxury consumers and affluent business professionals, American Express expertly navigates the social media scene by creating content and promotions that appeal to their audiences.
By offering exclusive hotel deals, backstage passes, and early access to concert tickets, their audience can see the value in following American Express.
3. Where are your target audiences?
Many brands jumping into social media for the first time treat it like an all-or-nothing game. Understanding where your target audiences are most active on social media can help you determine which, if any, social media channels are most worth the effort. Then you can build a social media presence that’s strategic and valuable instead of wasting time and resources on the wrong platform.
Social media accounts dealing with customer service (ConEd, Bed Bath & Beyond, FedEx) focus on Twitter because that is the channel consumers use to complain. A fashion brand might successfully engage on Instagram because of the visual content that they can create quickly.
4. Do you have graphic capabilities?
Visuals are key in social media, as we’ve explored in a previous blog post. Determine whether your company has the graphic capabilities to create the visual content needed to boost a social media presence. If not, explore easy-to-use options like Canva and Giphy for brand-appropriate images or graphics.
5. What are your competitors doing?
Informed communications strategies come in part from understanding the competition. Social media strategy is no exception. Learn from, but don’t copy, your competitors. What channels are they using? Which ones have the largest followings? What time of day do audiences engage with them? And what type of content do they post?
Researching your competitors’ presence on social media will help you answer the questions above and also better enable you to develop a social media presence that differentiates your company.
While these five questions aren’t the only ones to explore, they should help set you on the path to developing a smart social media strategy. Continue to track your social media performance, engagement, and tactics, regularly revisit what worked best and what didn’t, and don’t be afraid to try new strategies throughout the year!